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THIS order may be thus defined:—Small to large quadrupeds,
terrestrial, arboreal, or aquatic, of usually carnivorous habits.
The teeth have generally sharp and cutting edges, and the canines
are well developed; the incisors are small, and four to six in
number. The number of toes is never less than four. There
are usually strong and sharp claws. The clavicles are incomplete
or absent. In the hand the scaphoid and lunar bones are always
united. The brain is well developed, and the hemispheres are
well convoluted. The stomach is always simple, while the
caecum, if present, is always small. The members of this
group have a deciduate and zonary placenta.
The fewness of the characters used in the above definition is
chiefly owing to the fact that the Seals and Sea-lions, although
they are referable without a doubt to this order, have undergone
in their metamorphosis into aquatic animals so many changes that
some of the main features in the structure of their terrestrial
relatives have been lost. This group will, however, be again
characterised. We shall deal at present with the land division
of the Carnivom, the CARNIVOBA FISSIPEDIA as they are generally
termed. The name is of course given to them to distinguish
them from the corresponding division of the PINNIPEDIA. In
the latter group the feet and hands are modified into " fins "; in
the other the fingers and toes are cleft, as with terrestrial beasts
1 lor a general account of the osteology, see Flower, Froc. ZooL Soc. 1869, p. 4;
awl for muscular anatomy, "Windle and Parsons, Proc. ZooL Soc. 1897, p. 370, and